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The best advice we heard from businesses in 2021

Photo from Jove Meyer Events

It’s hard to believe another calendar year has come and gone—not without its challenging, yet still promising times, for small businesses. The vast majority of temporarily closed businesses have reopened, and consumer interest for both indoor and outdoor activities—from entertainment to fitness—is on the rise (Yelp Economic Average). 

To celebrate and share the resilience of small businesses over the past year and beyond, we’ve collected the top 15 pieces of advice from businesses and industry experts in 2021.

Defining your vision

“Make sure you know what you are a ‘yes’ for to make your business dreams come true and what you are a clear ‘no’ for. You can’t be a ‘yes’ for everything. People, your customers, may try to sway you, and you have to make sure what your customers are asking for is something you really want to do and that you can be fully invested in.”
Eboni and Peggy Howard, Eb & Flow Yoga Studio
A mother-daughter duo’s vision for diversity in yoga

“When I was young, I used to say, I wish I won the lottery. Well, your dream is your lottery ticket. So put some effort behind your dream, and you’ll be able to cash that lottery ticket in. If you do have inspiration to start your own business, go for it. Put in the hard work. Eventually your ticket will be called.”
Derrick Holland, Brickhouse Gourmet Coffee Tea & Co.
‘A unique experience with every sip’ from Brickhouse

“Sometimes we have to be comfortable with saying, ‘I am not for everyone, and everyone is not for me.’ I don’t lose any sleep over that at this point because it’s not my job to reach every single woman. It’s my job to reach those that I’m created to reach.”
Miara Shaw, Maven Nation
Inspiration from 3 trailblazing experts on burnout, resilience, and authenticity 

Being a leader

“Working on myself has probably been the most powerful thing I’ve done since leaving my last company. Understanding that I’ve gotta be working on developing and growing for the rest of my life. I can’t expect people in my business to develop themselves if I’m not leading by example.”
Josh Campbell, Rescue Air Heating and Cooling
Behind the Review | Great customer service starts at the top and flows through this entire HVAC company

“Taking responsibility for everything doesn’t mean you have to do everything. You have to create a system where you can check on everything without doing it all.”
Clinton Jones, Magnum Opus Hair Salon
What I wish I knew when starting my beauty business

Mastering your operations

“ABP. Always be posting, always be publishing, always be planning, always be promoting—whatever you want to insert there. You should be putting stuff online.”
Stover Harger, Cali Comfort BBQ
Behind the Review | A dynamic combination of hospitality and digital marketing 

“Regardless of what you’re trying to do, you have to run a good operation. You have to understand the numbers and run everything well fundamentally. Without that, it doesn’t matter how good your food is, how good your concept is, or how much hyper buzz you get. If you can’t sustain a good business operation month-over-month, year-over-year, you’re most likely not going to make it.”
David Yoo, 10Q Chicken
How a Korean twist on American staples is uniting cultures

“Every social media platform is like a different room in your restaurant where you would seat different types of customers. But everyone is coming to one house, and that house is your brand identity.” 
Shawn Walchef, Cali Comfort BBQ 
How to customize your message for different online platforms 

Conquering adversity

“Although being a woman in this world has been my biggest challenge, it has also become my biggest superpower. Where people see that it might be a disadvantage, I actually use it to my advantage. I like to think of it as the gas that’s in my engine. I take it, put it in my car, and it actually drives me. I’m always out there on the front lines being an activist because it fuels me. All those disadvantages, I put it in the car, step on the gas, and I’m going to make this happen.”
Judaline Cassidy, Tools & Tiaras
Building confidence in young women—one tool and tiara at a time

“The apprehension or the fear [about inclusion initiatives in the workplace] is that you’re not going to know everything or that you may get something wrong, and I think that that’s okay. We’re not asking you to come out the gate with a 100. Take it in steps. It’s a journey, and it’s a process.”
RaShawn Hawkins, Human Rights Campaign’s Workplace Equality Program
4 ways to make your business more LGBTQ inclusive

Trusting yourself

“You have to remember, there’s a market for you. You are talented, and you are incredible as you are. Being authentic is the greatest asset we have in life and in business. Rather than trying to fit in with ‘those at the top,’ build your own team of people around you, and come up together.”
Jove Meyer, Jove Meyer Events
Lessons for success from LGBTQ entrepreneurs 

“Let your perceived flaws be your secret weapon. I didn’t get here by saying all the things that I wasn’t; I used everything people said was ‘wrong’ with me to move me forward. As you celebrate your difference, others will too.”
Precious Williams, Perfect Pitches
6 steps for a successful elevator pitch

Investing in your employees

“I don’t want to have more money in my pocket. I’d rather have more money in their pockets so they’re happy with their jobs. I want to have a good work environment. If our employees are happy, our customers will be happy, and that’s proven to be a really good model.”
Emily Chavez, Emily’s Garage
‘My flag needs to be raised:’ How Emily’s Garage is retooling the auto shop

Listening to your customers

“It hasn’t been me sitting in a room after getting a degree at a business school to figure out how to market and stuff. That’s not what it is. Your people will literally give you the playbook.”
Wesley The Keeper, Akron Honey
How Akron Honey makes customers the heroes of its story 

“People are giving us their time—the most valuable kind of currency. And so when we think about that, it’s super, super important that we think about the details that they might consider, even if it’s not something that we face.”
Alex Bradberry, The Sparkle Bar
Behind the Review | Creating a truly inclusive customer experience

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.

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